Drives and Controls

Cost-effective alternative to pneumatic systems

At £600 per axis to include drive, motor and software, motion control company Quin Systems of Wokingham in Berkshire says its new linear drive system is cheaper, faster, more robust and more controllable than equivalent servomotor or pneumatic systems.

Developed by Swiss textile machinery maker Sulzer to replace noisy cam-operated actuators, the LinMot drive has magnetic bearings to give low-inertia, high speed linear motion producing forces up to 150N at speeds topping 200m/sec over stroke lengths between 70mm and 200mm.

Unlike expensive closed-loop pneumatic systems costing £2,000 per axis, the LinMot drive can be programmed to give precisely variable speed profiles over the length of the stroke.

Apart from textiles, applications include packaging, glueing and labelling machinery. Test equipment is another suitable area, resetting relays, for instance. With its Profibus and Canbus links, LinMot is networkable. The cylinder has a 100 million cycle 20 times that of a pneumatic cylinder.


Novel switching electronics makes ABB’s medium-voltage AC drive smaller, cheaper and more reliable than any custom product, the company says. ABB has cut costs and prices by standardising on a design which meets the needs of 85% of the market for a drive in the power range.

The ACS 1000 provides medium-voltage control of heavy duty plant such as pumps, winders and rollers, handling loads between 315-5,000kW from a 2.3kV, 3.3kV or 4.16kV supply. The drive is small. At 3m x 2m x 0.9m deep, the 3.3kV model takes half the space of custom drives since up to 60 IGBT switches can be replaced by 12 new, more reliable, fast-switching devices called integrated gate commutated thyristors.

Direct torque control developed for ABB’s low-voltage ACS 600 drive means that an industry-standard squirrel cage induction motor can be controlled directly without expensive sensors. Delivery and commissioning times are shorter than for a custom product.


Spanning power outputs from 0.55-7.5kW, the Danfoss VLT Drivemotor is a combined drive and asynchronous motor developed as compact self-contained solution for panel mounting in OEM equipment without expensive shielded cables. Smallness and extensive features take the range into new control applications beyond the usual fans, pumps, mixers and bottling lines, says Danfoss.


Aerotech’s latest servo amplifier, the BA Intellidrive, is a general purpose drive for brushed DC servo and brushless motors. Capable of point-to-point motion from a stored input using predefined acceleration, deceleration and velocity data, the drive can be programmed using a handheld terminal or with a PC. Aimed at panel builders, it provides continuous outputs of 1360W, 2720W and 4080W from an AC supply.


Suitable for systems as well as standalone motor control, the Hitachi L100 AC micro inverter has RS422 as well as fieldbus communications. The drive has seven inputs (five programmable) and two programmable and one alarm output. Single and three-phase models cover outputs from 0.2-2.2kW and 0.4kW-7.5kW.


Yaskawa’s ‘flatpack’ multi-axis servo drives – rated at 400V – measure just 50mm wide for the 0.5-3kW model, saving up to 70% of the panel space needed by an equivalent standalone unit.

The SGDC drive complements Yaskawa’s SGM servos which are half the size and weight of other motors because of their special windings.


An autotuning algorithm on Mitsubishi’s MR-series 30W to 3.5kW servo drive ‘all but eliminates’ vibration due to frequent changes in dynamic loads found in pick and place robots, machine tools, packaging, printing and other machinery. The company says drive commissioning times and costs are cut as a result. Residing on a fast 32bit Risc processor, the algorithm avoids the need for ‘black art’ programming skills.


The EXD flameproof electric motor from Brown Pestell has applications in potentially explosive atmospheres in food manufacture as well as more usual petrochemical plant. Meeting Zone 1 rating, motors cover outputs from 0.25-45kW in 71-225 frame sizes.